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The Tangent - In Earnest lyrics

In Earnest
Words & Music: Andy Tillson

I. The Radio Amateur

Keying his mic' as he searches for life,
A gentle old man sits alone in the dark,
He's scanning the waves,
Looking for memories he can share.

His correspondents collect him like stamps,
Adding his callsign to their trophies and maps,
And none of them wonder just who it is they're talking to,
None of them think to ask the kind of man he was...

"I was a pilot, in a war long ago
and it all seemed to matter way back then..."

And now and then he feels the ground-rush,
As his plane hits the air,
Or feels his ground crew rally round him once again.


II. Worthy of Memory part 1

He remembers everything about flying Spitfires, sending Morse,
The crackle of the radio, the tension of the news reports,
He flew to save his people!
His people do not want to know him now.

He remembers every detail about those sand-bagged days,
But every chapter that came after, vanishes in blurry haze,
He has no great love story, just medals and a glory, gone for good.
He gave his youth - just like he should.


III. Demobilized

He demobbed in 1945 as the world he'd fought for came alive,
He looked for his friends to find that most of them had gone.
He scanned the radio the next few years, until the last ones disappeared,
When no-one was left, our Earnest looked to pastures new, from his viewpoint,
A mile above the ground,
He looked down on his oyster, green and blue.


IV. Dehumanized

He sits in a hundred countries, counting off his latter years, while...
Leaders sit in panelled War-Rooms, fuelled by their peoples' fears,
They'll find so many willing,
So many, ready to do what he has done


V. Flights of Fancy

He remembers smoky jazz bars in the years after war,
The feeling of nostalgia was creeping up and taking over
And after that it all just seemed the same,
How could he ever equal it again?

And in his flights of fancy he's still the captain of his crew
His navigator on the double bass?
Is that Lofty up there with him too?
But it all came down so fast,
And this be-bop won't last
And in his flights of fancy he never even left the R.A.F.
It all came down so fast, and
Earnest only has the past,
He's a hero in November
But all year long he's last in the Queue


VI. Worthy of Memory part 2

He remembers something - about a motorbike in Lincolnshire?
A rally -- for Ham Radio?, his kids on a trip?, to Brighton Pier?
His heart is in the 40's
His roaming engines still sport his name...
In Earnest, we all had a friend.


VII. The Silent Key (instrumental)


VIII. Earnest Dreams of 617

Lifelong memories as he hits the dam
of Bouncing Bombs and slide rules,
Radio cans...
It's Earnest in the cockpit and he'll never know
A moment to compare to this one,
On the Earth... below


IX. Some Crazy Old Guy

Sipping his pint as he sits at the bar
A lonely old man sits alone with his thoughts
Around him we buzz, and never notice that he's there.
He's in the way when we order our drinks,
He's there every night of the week,
Some Crazy Old Guy who tells those stories all the time...
...But he's not with us, he's miles away from here,
In the only past we gave him worth his thoughts.
So we'll never see his Spitfire as it makes its final roll,
And we'll never learn the lessons he was taught.


X. In Earnest

Don't leave me nostalgic for the wrong things in my life,
I don't want adventures among your grand designs of war!
I'll take a clear morning with the wind in my hair,
I beg you, In Earnest, for nothing more.